Today the Episcopal Church remembers the life and ministry of a poet and priest, George Herbert who was born in 1593 and died on this day in 1633. James Kiefer writes:
George attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and became the Public Orator of the University, responsible for giving speeches of welcome in Latin to famous visitors, and writing letters of thanks, also in Latin, to acknowledge gifts of books for the University Library. This brought him to the attention of King James I, who granted him an annual allowance, and seemed likely to make him an ambassador. However, in 1625 the king died, and George Herbert, who had originally gone to college with the intention of becoming a priest, but had his head turned by the prospect of a career at Court, determined anew to seek ordination. In 1626 he was ordained, and became vicar and then rector of the parish of Bemerton and neighboring Fugglestone, not far from Salisbury.
He served faithfully as a parish priest, diligently visiting his parishioners and bringing them the sacraments when they were ill, and food and clothing when they were in want. He read Morning and Evening Prayer daily in the church, encouraging the congregation to join him when possible, and ringing the church bell before each service so that those who could not come might hear it and pause in their work to join their prayers with his. He used to go once a week to Salisbury to hear Evening Prayer sung there in the cathedral. On one occasion he was late because he had met a man whose horse had fallen with a heavy load, and he stopped, took off his coat, and helped the man to unload the cart, get the horse back on its feet, and then reload the cart. His spontaneous generosity and good will won him the affection of his parishioners.
Today, however, he is remembered chiefly for his book of poems, The Temple, which he sent shortly before his death to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, to publish if he thought them suitable. They were published after Herbert's death, and have influenced the style of other poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Several of them have been used as hymns, in particular "Teach me, my God and King," and "Let all the world in every corner sing."
Let us pray: Our God and King, who called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Mardi Gras celebration hosted by Tammie and Bill Taylor, Tuesday, 4 March at 6 p.m. in Sutton Hall at St. Augustine’s.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 5 March at 6 p.m. with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist.
Lenten Program on the Island: “Nick at Night”:
Mar. 12th: The Rt. Rev. Jeff Fisher Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of Texas at St. Augustine (1410 41st St.)
Mar. 19th: The Rev. Wendy Wilkinson, Rector, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach, VA at Grace (1115 36th St.)
Mar. 26th: The Rev. Canon Glenice Robinson-Como Canon Pastor at Christ Church Cathedral & Chaplain to the Beacon at Trinity (2216 Ball Ave)
Apr. 2nd: Br. Michael Gallagher & Fr. Peter Funk Benedictine Monks and Founders of Holy Cross Monastery at St. Augustine (1410 41st St.)
Apr. 9th: The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean & President of the Seminary of the Southwest, Austin at Grace (1115 36th St.)
Apr. 16th: The Rev. Mike Chalk, Diocese of West Texas at Trinity (2216 Ball Ave).
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially Patricia, Pat and Karen.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550